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Archive - Tuesday, 15 June 2010
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Joey Beauchamp: My fight against booze and blues
JOEY Beauchamp’s life is finally back on track. The former Oxford United star has spoken for the first time about his 20 months of hell which saw him battle drink and depression and – thanks to those close to him – survive.
Joey Beauchamp with wife Millie and daughter Jessie
But only just, after he admitted considering suicide.
“I gave up all hope,” he said. “I had a beautiful wife and a newborn daughter, but nothing mattered to me.
“I was drinking all day, every day and hated what I was doing.”
Now the 39-year-old is speaking out to other sufferers of depression in the hope his story could help someone.
Beauchamp is revered among United fans, but when his footballing career ended because of a serious toe injury in July 2002, his life faltered.
He coped at first, but gradually things got on top of him.
“It was in January 2008 things started,” he admitted.
“There had been a lot of things I was stressed about and then one thing just pushed me too far.”
And, while he would not admit it at the time, he was in a serious depression.
It was to last for 20 months, and Beauchamp knows that if it was not for his mum, dad and brothers, but most of all his wife Millie, he might not have come through it.
“I was getting up in the morning, going to the pub and drinking all day, every day,” he said.
“I was taking every sort of tablet you could imagine, none were helping me.
“I couldn’t sleep, nothing worked. I knew the only way I could get to sleep was to drink stupid amounts and pass out.”
And on one occasion, he went too far. Millie explained: “I heard him get up to go to the toilet in the night, and then I heard a huge thud.
“He had fallen over and hit his head and was just lying there.”
Beauchamp was at an all-time low. I saw psychiatrists and other people, but they just didn’t get it,” he said.
“I could not tell anyone how I was feeling or how I was coping... rather how I wasn’t coping with it.
“I looked on the Internet about suicide and yes, considered it a few times.”
Beauchamp was caught drink driving in August 2009 – an incident he believes was a key moment.
He said: “Anyone who was in court that day will tell you what a wreck I was. The courts saw the state of me and appreciated that it was just more than a drink driving charge.
“They made me see a doctor. They made me own up to my problems and it played a huge part in my recovery.”
And then it just clicked.
“October 9, 2009,” he said. “Suddenly, I was getting positive feelings again, it felt very strange.”
Beauchamp added: “If I can help one person by coming out and admitting this, that would mean everything to me.”
He said he could not believe how lucky he was that Millie stuck by him, along with daughter Jessie, now 17 months. “I told her to leave me,” he said. “Don’t ask me why, but she stuck by me.”
Millie added: “I came close to going, I must admit. My friends were all telling me to go, but I couldn’t. I knew he would come through it in the end. Hopefully, now all three of us can have a life.”